Episode 40 : Forgiveness, Hope & Knitted Bears with Figen Murray

Figen Murray OBE

Figen Murray first took up knitting seriously to help her cope with hearing loss. At the time, she was working as a psychotherapist, and decided to practice what she preached and turned to creativity to help lift her mood. Little did she know then that just a few years later her knitting would help her cope with the dreadful loss of her son, Martyn Hett, who was one of the 22 victims of the Manchester Arena attack in 2017.

Figen’s knitted bears

By the time of the attack, Figen had taken to knitting bears which she sold online and which she used to help people with various mental health issues. In May 2017, her life was (in her words) “turned upside down”, and she left psychotherapy work to look at why people are compelled to commit acts of terrorism and to try to prevent it happening so that other families wouldn’t have to experience what happened to hers.

Figen’s book which was published in 2017

Figen’s bears became ‘Peace Bears’ and not only have they given her a constructive way of coping with her own grief, but she has used them to reach out to the victims of other attacks too. Figen now visits schools to speak about terrorism and the dangers of radicalisation as well as the good and positivity there is in the world in a bid to “break the cycle of hate”. In December 2021, Figen graduated with a Masters Degree in Counter Terrorism from the University of Central Lancashire and was recognised for her work in counter terrorism when she was awarded an OBE in this year’s New Year’s Honours List.

Figen’s Bears doing yoga!

It was utter pleasure to speak to Figen for Making Stitches and I’m incredibly grateful for her time and openness in speaking to me for the podcast.

Jordan Bear whose travels are documented on Facebook

You can find out more about Figen here and to see Jordan Bear’s traveling adventures you can find him here.

The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.
The Making Stitches logo was designed by Neil Warburton at iamunknown.

You can support Making Stitches Podcast with running costs through Ko-fi.
Making Stitches Podcast is supported by the Making Stitches Shop which offers Making Stitches Podcast merchandise for sale as well as Up the Garden Path crochet patterns created by me & illustrated by Emma Jackson.

Episode 39 : Celebrating Freedom & Crafty Resolutions for 2022 : The Making Stitches Podcast Review of the Year 2021 (Part 2)

I hope you’ve had a lovely Christmas! I have one last gift for you this year before the clock strikes midnight again and we begin another year. Following on from the Happy Stitchmas episode published on Christmas Eve, this is my Hogmanay offering with a celebration of some of the freedoms I was able to enjoy this year as well as hearing about peoples’ crafty New Year’s Resolutions for 2022.

Among my guests for this trip down Memory Lane are Crochet Sanctuary regulars Diane & Sam who I met on my visit to the Crochet Sanctuary in Cheshire in Spring. There’s the hugely inspiring Sarah Corbett from the Craftivist Collective and Evie & Gemma from the Manchester Flock of Canary Craftivists which took place in the city centre in July. Former BBC Europe Correspondent, Mary Jane Baxter, spoke to me about her amazing crafty road trip around Europe and Scotland in her camper van – Bambi, plus there was my fabulous trip across the Pennines to the Yarndale Festival in Skipton in September.

You’ll also be able to hear from a couple of the ladies from Black Sheep Wools in Warrington, crafter Kate Blackburn who makes beautiful handstitched cards, Christine Perry aka Winwick Mum and someone who has helped me a great deal this year; Amanada from Mrs G Makes.

You can hear the episode here!

My thanks to everyone who has spoken to me for Making Stitches this year and made it a year to remember for the podcast. My thanks to you too for listening! Happy New Year – I hope 2022 is a good one for you.

My guests on this episode were:
Sam & Diane who I met at The Crochet Sanctuary
Sarah Corbett from The Craftivist Collective
Evie & Gemma from the Manchester Flock of Canary Craftivists
Tracy & Lucy from Black Sheep Wools
Kate Blackburn from Katie Did This UK on Etsy & Instagram
Mary Jane Baxter author of Sew on the Go
Yvonne, one of the volunteers from the Yarndale Festival
Juey from Juey Jumbo Crarft Tools
Carole Rennison from Hooked by Design & Yarndale Festival Organiser
Christine Perry from Winwick Mum
Amanda Greenhough from Mrs G Makes Etsy Shop & Mrs G Makes You Tube Videos

The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.
The Making Stitches logo was designed by Neil Warburton at iamunknown.

You can support Making Stitches Podcast with running costs through Ko-fi.
Making Stitches Podcast is supported by the Making Stitches Shop which offers Making Stitches Podcast merchandise for sale as well as Up the Garden Path crochet patterns created by me & illustrated by Emma Jackson.

Holly, Ivy, Hope the Snowdrop
& Flora the gardener

Episode 38 : Happy Stitchmas 2021! The Making Stitches Podcast Christmas Special & Review of the Year 2021 (Part 1)

It’s Christmas Eve, so here’s my Christmas gift to you dear listener! This year I’m splitting my Christmas Special into two halves, the first one is here for you today, and the second one will be out one week from today on New Year’s Eve.

In Part 1 I look back at a few of my personal highlights of the year so far on Making Stitches and feature little snippets from interviews with Sara Huntington – Editor of Simply Crochet Magazine, Louise Armitage aka Gini’s Dorset Buttons, Great British Sewing Bee 2021 contestant Adam Brooks, Heather Griffith from HGDC Crochet & Louise Murray from Hooked by Lou. You’ll also hear from Tracy, Julie and Lucy from Black Sheep Wools in Warrington and Kate Blackburn from Katie Did This UK hand-stitched cards.

You can find links to all my guests below. My thanks to everyone who spoke to me for the Podcast this year – I couldn’t have done it without you!

I hope you enjoy listening to this special festive episode and I very much look forward to sharing Part 2 with you soon! Have a great Christmas! You can listen to it here.

Sara Huntington – Editor Simply Crochet Magazine & @crochetdeli on Instagram
Louise Armitage aka Gini’s Dorset Buttons
Hayley Shelton aka DotCraftStudio
Adam Brooks
Matthew Downham Art
Heather Griffith from HG Designs Crochet
Louise Murray from Hooked by Lou
Tracy, Julie & Lucy from Black Sheep Wools
Kate Blackburn from Katie Did This UK on Etsy & Instagra
The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.
The Making Stitches logo was designed by Neil Warburton at iamunknown.

You can support Making Stitches Podcast with running costs through Ko-fi.
Making Stitches Podcast is supported by the Making Stitches Shop which offers Making Stitches Podcast merchandise for sale as well as Up the Garden Path crochet patterns created by me & illustrated by Emma Jackson.

Episode 37 : Alyson Chu from Moorit & Keep Calm & Carry Yarn

When Alyson Chu spotted a gap in the market for a high-end crochet magazine, she decided to draw on her publishing experience and put one together herself. With Kick-Starter backing of over 600 individuals and the support of a group of crochet designers, Moorit was born this autumn showcasing beautiful crocheted garments to make as well as articles and a very cute sheep project too.

A podcaster herself for more than 4 years along with her mother, Vivian, with Keep Calm and Carry Yarn, Alyson is well used to speaking about her ongoing projects and her love of crochet. I think you’ll really enjoy hearing about how Moorit came into being, as well as Alyson’s hopes for the magazine going forwards and whether she will be won over by the dark side (knitting) or not!

Sivu Jumper designed by Linda Skuja (from Issue 1 of Moorit)

My sincere thanks to Alyson for speaking to me for Making Stitches Podcast. You can hear the episode here.

Spraoi Mittens & Cowl designed by Anne-Michelle Phelan (featured in Issue 1 of Moorit)

You can find out more about Moorit Magazine here and Keep Calm and Carry Yarn Podcast here.

The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.
The Making Stitches logo was designed by Neil Warburton at iamunknown.

You can support Making Stitches Podcast with running costs through Ko-fi.
Making Stitches Podcast is supported by the Making Stitches Shop which offers Making Stitches Podcast merchandise for sale as well as Up the Garden Path crochet patterns created by me & illustrated by Emma Jackson.

Episode 34 : Living a colourful crochet life with Emma Leith

Emma Leith

When I sat down to chat with the self-named ‘Queen of Colour’ & crochet designer Emma Leith, I was in for a treat. Emma’s enthusiasm for creativity and colour is infectious and she was a delight to speak to. She started out teaching mosaic but a couple of large scale yarnbombs brought Emma to prominence and two books of crochet patterns soon followed.

Emma’s mindful creations and colour choices are so zingy and uplifting – you can’t help but be filled with optimism when you see them.

I hope you enjoy our chat which covered subjects including how a breast cancer diagnosis gave Emma the time to focus on her crochet without pressure, how her creativity is a conduit for her Buddhist practice and how she has learned to embrace the colours of autumn.

You can hear Emma’s episode here.

You can find Emma’s work on her website & Instagram.
Mary Rose Young Pottery is one of Emma’s inspirations.

One of Emma’s mosaics


The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.
The Making Stitches logo was designed by Neil Warburton at iamunknown.

You can support Making Stitches Podcast with running costs through Ko-fi.

Making Stitches Podcast is also supported by the Making Stitches Shop which offers Making Stitches Podcast merchandise for sale as well as Up the Garden Path crochet patterns created by me & illustrated by Emma Jackson.

Making Stitches Podcast is presented, recorded and edited by Lindsay Weston.

Episode 29 : From sewing scrubs to Sewing Bee 🐝

Adam Brooks

I don’t know about you but this year’s Great British Sewing Bee was just what the doctor ordered for me. After a spring of lockdowns, isolation, burst bubbles and home schooling, the creativity, colour and humour of GBSB was so uplifting.

The standard of the contestants this year was really high, and many of them could have gone all the way to final had it not been for one bad day when things didn’t go exactly according to plan. The camaraderie of the 12 sewing competitors, the friendships you were able to witness developing and the fabulous garments that were created made it a fantastic series.

Adam in one of his own sewn outfits

One of those contestants was Adam Brooks, an Entertainments Director on a cruise ship, who used his time during the pandemic while stuck on dry land, to get creative and reacquaint himself with his sewing machine. He created beautiful garments on the show from a stunning 1950s style button down dress to a Frida Kahlo inspired playsuit and won the transformation challenge twice! Unfortunately a child’s raincoat got the better of him in week 5 and saw him saying goodbye to his fellow contestants.

Another of Adam’s passions is knitting by hand & machine

You can listen to Adam’s episode here.

I’m absolutely thrilled that Adam agreed to speak to me for Making Stitches and really grateful he shared some of his behind the scenes experiences from Sewing Bee. I hope you enjoy listening to our chat as much as I did recording it. You can find Adam on Instagram.

A poem Adam wrote about his time on GBSB


The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.

You can support Making Stitches Podcast with running costs through Ko-fi.